Well it’s been another period of lockdown and with COVID-19 infection rates dropping we are looking forward to see some normality return to our lives, non-essential shops reopening, hairdressers and pubs and restaurants are opening their doors again. I think we are all happy about things starting up again BUT how do you feel about returning to work?
With furlough ended in October and many businesses bringing staff back, we have seen a huge spike in concerns from people about making the transition back to the office - psychologists are officially calling it ‘reverse culture shock’ and it’s a big thing. . Organisations havehad to make rapid changes to how they operate, including how and where jobs are carried out. Workers in turn, are having to navigate ‘new normal’ ways of working, as well as adapt to changing circumstances in their personal life and they want to know they are safe.
The CIPD carried out monthly surveys until September 2020 to understand the impact of COVID-19 on key aspects of work and issues such as furlough and returning to work - this is ongoing work to build on the CIPD’s Good Work Index 2020 which examines job quality and working lives, tracking employees’ perspectives on working during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The first survey of 1,001 UK workers shows key concerns of employees, including their work/life balance, wellbeing and job security - because let’s be honest, will everything be exactly as it was when we return? No.
During the pandemic many employees have had very different experiences, depending on their personal circumstances, with many adapting to working remotely and others furloughed - some still attending their normal work places and duties (albeit slightly differently with social distancing and the use of face masks and gloves) managing their fears and concerns throughout.
The CIPD data shows that:
• 21% were furloughed – and half of these said they did not know when they’d return to work
• Of those still working, 61% were working remotely all the time
• 39% were going to their normal workplace for some or all the time
Now looking at health and wellbeing during COVID-19,from the figures above you can see there has been a huge increase in home working to stop the spread of COVID-19 and managing the spread is still number one priority. Data has found that almost half of those surveyed (47%) are concerned about catching COVID-19 at work, highlighting the importance of consulting with employees on health and safety measures and ensuring workplace are COVID-safe. The Good Work Index has tracked mental and physical workplace health since 2018, showing a steady decline in these areas, it seems that this trend is continuing with the rise of COVID-19 having a direct impact on mental and physical health - around 4 in 10 workers have said that their mental and physical health has worsened since the pandemic. Workers with existing conditions are, unsurprisingly, finding these times particularly difficult.
It is down to each and every business and their managers to check in on the mental health and wellbeing of their employees and ensure the right support is available to them.
• 28% said that work had a negative impact on their mental health. This represents a small increase compared to 27% who said this in January 2020.
• Similarly, 31% said work had a negative impact on their physical health, up from 26% in January 2020.
• 43% said their general mental health has worsened since the outbreak, rising to 52% for those with an existing mental health issue.
• 35% said their general physical health has become worse
At Ergocom we are able to assist businesses with keeping in touch with and managing employees return to work, our services include mental health specialists,our associates offer return to work planning and support for employer and employee, advice on reasonable adjustments, modifying jobs, ergonomics, specialising in remote working, workplace wellness and workplace condition management.
Also with many people being made redundant, we are able to help with career redirection, identifying transferable skills and support people needing to identify and move into alternative roles and new jobs.
It is imperative that employees know there is support out there for them - these really are unprecedented times and people will be responding to the pandemic in very different ways - some may even show signs of the effects later down the line. We are very keen to assist employers to support their staff.